Keeping Score: Democrats Win Senate Majority; Alt-Right Storms Capitol Hill

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

Lest We Forget 

+ “Sometimes people ask me, do I have hope? Yes, I have hope! You know, my ancestors, they fought drought and they fought famine. They picked up and moved their entire community to the Rio Grande valley in the late 1200s. They had hard lives. But they always felt like we have an obligation to our future generations, to make sure that we are doing everything we can to survive, to thrive. … I don’t have the luxury of just giving up so easily. I have an obligation to honor the legacy that my ancestors gave me.”

—Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) on an episode of “Our Body Politic” podcast. (In December, Joe Biden tapped Haaland as the first Indigenous secretary of the interior. Allow Ms. to introduce you to all the women appointed to join this historic administration.)

+ “Because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator. The improbable journey that led to me to this place in this historic moment in America could only happen here.” —Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) in a public address after being projected the winner of his Senate runoff.

+ “Air travel is safe because everyone follows a strict set of rules, based on the spirit that ‘we’re all in this together.’ The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard. … Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area. Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.”

—Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) International president Sara Nelson in a statement on Jan. 6, the day that Trump supporters from several states stormed the capitol.

+ “We are reminded of the tenuous state of this nation as we continue to grapple with the legacies of violence, destructionn and anger on which this country was built. This is both a ‘national tragedy,’ as many have referred to it, and exactly who we are. This country whose creation was predicated by stealing land and whose economic systems and structures were built by stolen bodies. This moment of public violence and destruction has been preceded by centuries of theft, genocide and murder. This. Is. Not. New.”

—Physicians for Reproductive Health president and CEO Dr. Jamila Perritt on the insurrection at the U.S. capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6

+ “I’m representing my mom, I’m representing my husband. This country is more than two centuries old, and our country needs to show diversity, and diversity means leadership comes in all races, all colors. It’s time for a change.”

—Vice President Kamala Harris in an interview with Vogue.

+ “I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me—from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda. This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain.”

—Former First Lady Melania Trump condemning personal attacks but refusing to address her husband’s role in inciting the violence on Capitol Hill.

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+ In only one term, Donald Trump became the first president in American history to be impeached twice. The House, including 10 Republicans, voted on the single article of impeachment which charged Trump with “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” 

+ For the first time since 1953, the U.S. executed a woman on federal death row on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Lisa Montgomery died for crimes committed in 2004, despite a mental illness diagnosis and a lifetime of abuse.

“Lisa was much more than the tragic crime she committed, a crime for which she felt deep remorse before she lost all touch with reality in the days before her execution,” said Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry, said in a statement the day after her execution. “Lisa was also much more than the horrors inflicted upon her, the sexual violence and abuse she endured at the hands of those who were supposed to love, nurture and protect her.”

+ The Dominican Republic officially banned child marriage, for which it has one of the highest rates in Latin America.

+ Several large corporations, including Marriott International, Airbnb and AT&T, announced they would cease PAC donations to the 147 Republican congresspeople who objected to electoral votes on Jan. 6, following the insurrection in D.C.

+ Georgia Senate candidates Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won their respective runoff races on Jan. 5, officially flipping the Senate to Democratic control under Vice President Kamala Harris’s leadership.

+ Harris will be sworn into office by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday, Jan. 20, alongside President-Elect Joe Biden.

+ Moreover, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman has been chosen as inaugural poet, the youngest in American history.

+ Several Trump Cabinet officials resigned following the violent insurrection on Wednesday, Jan. 6, including Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. However, their resignations come just two weeks before their terms would have otherwise ended.

Meanwhile, Trump spent Jan. 6 calling on congressional Republicans to defend his baseless claims of voter fraud when counting the electoral votes. Now, Trump plans to reward loyal Ohio representative Jim Jordan (R) with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

+ Iranian legislators approved a bill that, if passed by the conservative Parliament, would punish perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment against women.

+ Japanese forces sexually enslaved 12 Korean women during World War II, and on Friday, Jan. 8, a South Korean court ruled that their neighbor owes $91,800 in reparations per victim. Thus far, Japan has refused to accept the ruling, escalating tensions. 

+ A new “Science Moms” ad campaign will be airing in Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin to convince other mothers of the urgent nature of the climate crisis.

+ Pregnancy guidelines from the South Korean government recently surfaced, advising women to prepare for pregnancy by stocking up on toilet paper and ready-made meals for the family—as a husband is supposedly “not good at cooking”—in addition to tying up one’s hair to avoid looking “disheveled.” It even suggested keeping a “small-size” dress on hand after giving birth, as motivation to lose pregnancy weight. The guidelines prompted outrage among women.

+ A coalition of over 600 organizations is demanding that via executive order, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris prohibit water and utility shutoffs for a full year after the end of the pandemic.

+ Newly reelected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced reforms to the Congressional code of conduct, including the use of nonbinary terms to accommodate lawmakers of all genders.

+ Former Atlanta police chief Erika Shields will take charge of the Louisville Police Department following the murder of Breonna Taylor, despite having resigned from her former post after a police shooting in Atlanta.

+ The House and Senate passed a bill proposed by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to rename the Manhattan VA after Margaret Corbin, making it the first VA in American history to be named after a female veteran.

“Margaret Corbin’s legacy is a testament to all that women veterans have given to our country since its founding,” said Gillibrand. “Corbin is an iconic New Yorker, who until now, has received little recognition for her sacrifices as a soldier on the battlefield. While we have a long way to go to ensure that women veterans get the same treatment and benefits that their male counterparts receive, I am proud to say that New York will soon be home to the first VA named after a woman veteran in the United States.”

How We’re Doing

+ Data from more than 13,000 protests in the U.S. in 2020 show that police are three times more likely to employ violent tactics like tear gas and rubber bullets against leftwing protestors.

+ Due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions decreased by more than 10 percent in 2020, reaching the lowest level in three decades

+ In December, the U.S. workers lost a net total of 140,000 jobs. Women lost 156,000, while men saw a total gain of 16,000. This data demonstrates drastic regression for women in the labor force, who have 5.4 million fewer jobs than they did before the pandemic.

+ Mortality rates are half as high when Black newborns are delivered by Back doctors, according to research by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The study was based on birth records from Florida hospitals between 1992 and 2015, and also revealed that Black babies face triple the risk of death compared to white newborns.

+ Pew Research Center reported that 68 percent of Americans don’t want Trump to remain “a major political figure” after leaving office on January 20.

+ Northwestern University and University of Chicago researchers found that a quarter of female physicians are harassed online, with attacks increasing as a result of pandemic lockdowns.

+ The UN warned that of the three-quarters of countries planning to counteract the climate crisis, barely any of them have a sufficient course of action. Environmental measures lack funding, and are hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our opponents are using the lame duck period—the time between now and when the new president is inaugurated, and a new Congress convenes—to do as much damage as they can. Help ensure Ms. remains strong and independent during this period of challenge and change. If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting our independent reporting and truth-telling for as little as $5 per month.


Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.